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Urban Studies

Urban studies is the analysis of cities, the people who live in them, how they function and how they are governed. In some fields, such as education, healthcare and law, urban areas present issues that don’t exist in rural or suburban communities. The majority of the world’s population now lives in cities. It is essential that there are urban studies problem-solvers who understand cities’ distinct challenges.

Why Choose Urban Studies?

The Location

Cities are places where human life is at its most intense. Whether you are interested in business, history, engineering, sociology, political science, environmental sustainability, art or education, it all happens in a city. As an urban studies major, you will learn firsthand how cities work by studying in one of the greatest: New York City.

Study Abroad

But it doesn’t stop in New York City. Manhattan College’s Study Abroad programs and global partnerships offer you the chance to study cities around the world. Travel everywhere from Venice to London to Buenos Aires and take courses taught by urban studies faculty members. Learn more about Study Abroad.

The Hands-on Experience

The urban studies program offers the most field-based courses outside of the classroom, throughout the city. You will learn the lay of the land by walking the blocks and crossing the bridges of our home, New York City. Some of our most popular experiential classes include:

  • URBN 202: Introduction to Urban Studies
  • ART 358: The New York Skyscraper
  • GOVT 212: Wall Street
  • MUSC 310: History of the Broadway Musical
  • SOC 209: NYC Ethnic Communities

We also have close ties to community nonprofits, urban planners, local politicians and developers. Our students have interned, studied and conducted research at:

  • Regional Plan Association
  • Governors Island Alliance
  • New York City Department of City Planning
  • New York City Council
  • New York State congressional offices
  • Goldman Sachs

What Will You Learn?

As an urban studies major, you will take courses that span many subject areas and learn about:

  • Urban planning and how cities take their shape
  • The history of different cities
  • The economy
  • Political movements, government, power and public administration
  • Social issues like the prison system, race relations, school systems and urban crime
  • Architecture, art, music and theater
  • Sustainability and the environment
  • Religion

Urban studies is also offered as a minor.

See the Degree Requirements

What Will You Do?

Urban studies alumni have enrolled in graduate programs across the country, while others opt to stay local and begin working.

After living in the Bronx and utilizing the subway system on a daily basis, I became more and more fascinated by the workings of the city and the policies and planning that make a town or city function — either for good or bad. I did a research project on the redevelopment and reuse of previously industrial sites in Pittsburgh. The paper sharpened my skills in research, and gave me a taste for the urban renaissances taking place beyond our immediate region.

Christian Hughes ’14